DENVER (KDVR) — When it comes to construction, there is always something happening.
But right now, at Austin Hardwoods of Denver, there’s a whole lot less activity than the business ever hoped to see.
A historic spike in the cost of lumber is taking a toll on home construction nationwide.
Lumber prices have tripled over the past year, in large part because mills shut down during the pandemic, believing demand for lumber would be almost non-existent.
“Some mills went out of business and the opposite happened, and I think it caught a lot of people off guard,” said Chris Stypinski, with Austin Hardwoods of Denver.
Now, businesses like this can’t keep up with demand.
“Our inventory levels can’t be kept at where we want them to. We’re running out of things. We’re waiting on lumber in order to produce the trim we manufacture here,” Stypinski said.
Lumber that would normally arrive in one or two weeks now takes months. A truck driver shortage is compounding the problem.
“The pricing has really been affected by freight. We used to pay $1,300 to to get a truckload from California to Denver. Now it’s costing us $4,000,” Stypinski said.
Those prices are getting passed down to the consumer nationally.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average new single family home is up $36,000 from a year ago. Fewer new homes are being built, which means housing is in short supply, and prices are soaring.
“A lot of the mills said by summer they thought things should start getting better,” Stypinski said, “but it’s gotten worse,”.